Posts Tagged 'LinkedIn'

Your Weekly Job Search Calendar

calendarSome unemployed people spend less than four hours a week on their job search. Some work at it even less. How does 41 minutes a day sound (see the Princeton study with that statistic)? Will a job seeker be successful with so little activity? Probably not.

Recognize this for what it is. Finding work is often harder than being employed. The skills that you need to be successful in a job search (e.g., self-marketing, interviewing, active networking) are often not the skills you use in your profession. Remember, though, that this will not be forever. Soon you will be back doing what you do best, if you work your search diligently and consistently.

To keep this from falling into the 41-minute trap (what do these people do after, say, 9:30 AM?), here are some job search foundations that you should implement today. This will keep you moving and motivated in an environment where negativity and rejection are real and ever-present.

Create a weekly plan. Plot out your activities for the week. Plan for shorter bursts of focused activity, limiting the time to no more than 90 minutes per task. People cannot maintain strong focus longer than this, so plan your work in blocks. Factor in short breaks, exercise, family obligations, meals and all of the other distractions (Facebook, anyone?) and priorities. Remember to invest at least 30 hours a week in yourself with an intense job search.

Rotate through your activities, matching the task to the best times. I am an early riser, often on social media at around 6AM. This would be fine in a job search because you want to have a social media/online presence, and it is less time dependent than other priorities. Your people-centered activities – phone calls, informational interviews, cold canvassing – need to be done during business hours. Don’t be hanging out on LinkedIn when you should be meeting and talking with people.

Click Here For 21 Use-Them-Now LinkedIn Tips

Get dressed and out of the house. You will not find a job with online activities alone. Get going at the same time every day, get a shower, get dressed and be ready for the business of your search. If you are targeting a job or function where you can drop in and apply in person, do that. Join networking groups. Check for services, job search teams, workshops and seminars at your state’s employment office, public library or faith communities (many see this as a vital and viable ministry).

Track your results. They say if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. In this case, you have to manage yourself. Hold yourself accountable to your plan. Don’t accept your own excuses. If you didn’t make your calls today, add them into tomorrow. There is no boss hovering over your head to force a deadline. Instead, you need to be accountable to yourself and those who depend on you.

Celebrate and rest. When you get to the end of your week, review your results. How much time did you spend on your search? How many people did you contact who could help you find a job? If you are pleased with your effort and results, celebrate! Give yourself a high-five. Take the weekend off, rest, recharge, and do something else to restore yourself.  Get ready to do it again on Monday.

The job search does not offer much positive reinforcement. There is a lot of rejection. It really is no fun. But when the good things happen, they make all of the difference. Unlike so many other areas of life where there are degrees of success, the job search is more binary, more black/white, job/no job. Recognize it, face it head on and work hard. Good things will happen for you.

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Are you using social media to find a job? Here are some pointers on using it more effectively to manage your career.

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Bill Florin CEIP CPRW is President of Resu-mazing Services Company.

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10 Social LinkedIn Things to Do Now

Your LinkedIn profile is more than an electronic résumé. LinkedIn is a social media site, and if you want to get the most out of it, you should be spending some time each day, or at least every few days, on the site. Activity creates visibility and connections. Punch through this list and figure out how you can be more effective while being LinkedIn.

1. Seasonal Greetings. As I am writing this, Christmas is just two days away. New Year’s Day is a week later. Scan your contacts list and send a note to say hello and share good wishes. Tip: Rather than typing the same statements over and over again, open your word processing program, type out a few greetings, and copy/paste from there. Easy!

2. Share News. Chances are that you work in an industry where something new is happening. If you see news stories that would be of interest to other people in your company and industry – any community with shared interests – post a link. IMPORTANT: Add a comment (a sentence or two) to your post to tell your network why you found the article valuable. Help them understand why you shared it and why one would want to spend time reading it.

3. Congratulate. This one should be obvious. You will see updates informing you that someone got promoted or landed a new job. Beginners: congratulate the person using that link. Pros: Send a private note, offering encouragement based on what you know about the person. Example: “You did such great work when we worked together at XYZ Company. I know that you will be amazing in this new job. Congratulations!”

4. Watch for Jobs for Others. Is there someone in your network who is looking for a new job? You might run across opportunities on LinkedIn and in other ways. Pass along these leads.

5. Participate in Groups. Participating is more than sharing a link to a story or promoting yourself. Read what others are sharing, get involved in discussions, and offer positive feedback. Part of the fun of social media is recognizing and being recognized for adding value. Give some love to others and they will do the same for you. Relationships start that way.

For 21 great tips on building a better LinkedIn profile, see 21-Point LinkedIn Check-Up. It’s the most viewed and shared article on this site.

6. Be Free with Knowledge. What are you good at? What are your areas of expertise? Monitor group discussions to offer ideas and advice when others ask for it. Your reputation can only get stronger for being so generous.

7. Ask Questions. If you are working through an issue, need advice, or just want to bounce ideas off of others, post a question to your network. You can do this as an update, to groups, or both. You might be surprised by the amount of help and engagement you get. Don’t forget to thank others who help you.

8. Be Gracious. Say thanks! When people endorse you, recommend you, recognize you, or help you in any way, say thank you. You can do this publicly. Better, send a private note thanking the person. Do both! Why not? You can never make a mistake by offering appreciation and thanks.

9. Recommend Businesses. This is especially true for smaller businesses that will care about your recommendation. Think about the businesses with which you have experience. Look for their LinkedIn company pages. Write recommendations that are specific about a product or service provided. This can lead to connections with the company and a more diverse network.

10. Recommendations & Endorsements. You should be doing these already, but if not, get going! When you write recommendations, be brief and specific about an accomplishment or quality about the person. Save your endorsements for people whose work you have seen.

What else are you doing with the service? How are you being social? Please share your ideas.

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Bill Florin is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Coach and President of Resu-mazing Services Company in Monroe, CT.

21-Point LinkedIn Check-Up (2013)

You know that LinkedIn is the place to be for online professional networking. It can be one of the most productive tools available, but it can also hurt you if you are not careful. Use this check-up to be sure that you are using the platform to its potential. Here is an updated check-up for 2013.

  1. Your Headline: Get creative here, using the few words that you have to build your brand. Rather than limiting yourself to a simple job title, think about how you could use this space more effectively. Before: Accountant. After: CPA and Client Magnet. Have some fun!
  2. Your Picture: This is not Facebook. Make it professional. Use a picture that shows you in your grown-up clothes. Smile.  Make sure that you have a picture. Studies have shown that people view profiles without pictures as “suspicious.”
  3. Your Profile Address: Did you know that you can customize this so that you don’t have all of the random letters, numbers and slashes tacked on to the URL? Do it. It will separate you from the LI rookies.
  4. Don’t Stalk: Everyone hates the notifications that an anonymous LinkedIn user viewed her/his profile. Be public. LinkedIn is for professionals seeking to network. Going stealth does not help you do that. If you view a profile for someone you don’t know, you just might make a new connection.
  5. Spelling/Grammar: LinkedIn is your professional face to the 225 million-member universe. Also, remember that your public profile can be viewed by non-members too as it is searchable on Google and other engines. Spelling and grammar errors are the equivalent of showing up at a business function wearing different color shoes. Spell check and proofread before posting. Use a word processor with spell check to write your copy and copy/paste into the profile.
  6. Formatting: You can’t use special characters and graphics, but you can use spacing and ASCII characters to make material >>> POP! <<< You can do something ##> SPECIAL with a few basic characters and an extra line or two.
  7. Summary: Remember that LinkedIn is a social media platform. Write a summary that lets your personality come through. Use the first person as you write. Remember that this is not a résumé. You can even give your readers information on why they should contact you. If you are looking for a job, mention that. If you aren’t, you can say something like this: “I welcome conversations with others in the industry so that we can share ideas and explore business opportunities.”
  8. TMI: Be careful about sharing too much information about your current gig. You should not be sharing confidential material unless you are seeking an involuntary departure. Loose lips…you know the rest.
  9. Results: Here’s a reality check. Does your profile read like a job description? If so, nobody is going to read it. Bor-ring! Give us one or two accomplishments from each job. Share some details. Pay attention to #8 above. Don’t forget your volunteer work.
  10. Files & Links: You can add samples of your work and links to other sites to your profile. If you did incredible work of a project for which there is a credible link, share it. Did you create a killer PowerPoint deck (good killer, not bore-to-death killer)? Do you have a writing sample? Are there pictures somewhere? Share it all here. Get creative.
  11. Recommendations: One of the best features of LinkedIn is the recommendation feature. Your connections can write in-depth recommendations for you that you can approve for posting to your profile. Be proactive and ask for recommendations. Be specific when you ask, reminding your connection about the work that you did together and what you would like to recommendation to include.
  12. Personal Invitations: As you think about and search for people with whom to connect, send invitations that are personal and will help the other person remember you. Bad: LinkedIn form-letter invitation. Good: “I enjoyed working with you at the NSA and I look forward to re-establishing our professional relationship.” Better: “You did incredible work of the XYZ project when we worked together at IBM. I am looking forward to reconnecting and sharing ideas.”
  13. Introductions: You know and are connected to Jane (1st level). You want to be introduced to John (2nd level). Ask Jane to make the introduction, explaining why it would benefit all involved.
  14. Groups: Explore your interests and connect to like-minded professionals. Search for groups that are related to your profession and interests. Check out the groups that LI recommends. Once a member, get involved in the conversation. The invitations to connect will flow when you engage professionally, intelligently and constructively.
  15. Follow Companies: Even if you are not looking for a job, there might still be companies that you admire or think about. If you didn’t work where you are anymore, where might you want to work? Follow them.
  16. Jobs: That’s one of the reasons why you are spending time here, right? Check the jobs link and set up monitoring alerts for jobs that you might consider. Check out companies that are actively recruiting through the site and see if you know anybody there. You might find that you have multiple 2nd level connections that are just an introduction away (see #13).
  17. Posting Quantity: Once or twice a day is plenty. A few times a week is OK, too. More than that and the value of your posts will be dubious and connections will start to tune you out. This is not Facebook. Nobody wants to hear about your tough commute, your lunch choice, or how hard you worked out today. Quality professional updates are the rule.
  18. Speaking of Quality: Remember that you are logged into a professional networking platform. You should conduct yourself here, with constructive, well-considered comments just as if you were at work. You can make a great impression or a bad one. It’s your choice.
  19. Give Recommendations: Make someone’s day special. Write an unsolicited recommendation for someone you’ve worked with or have done business with. Make it sincere and specific. OK: “Bob is a great guy.” Much better: “Jane completed the Flux Capacitor project two weeks early and $15,000 under budget. Her work allowed us to launch early and beat competitors to market.”
  20. Follow Thought-Leaders: Some of the biggest names in business write for LinkedIn. Richard Branson, Jack Welch and others are there. Follow them and read what they are writing. If you have an intelligent comment to add to the conversation, go for it. Your network will see it and might learn something about your interests and professional thoughts. Don’t forget about your connections; give them some love for their posts, too.
  21. Endorsements: Don’t spend a lot of time here. You might find that people who don’t know you well (or at all!) are endorsing you for things that they can’t possibly know. Take the endorsement pledge: I will never endorse anyone for anything that I don’t have first-hand knowledge about. My guess is that endorsements will be removed, though I have no reason for knowing that. That opinion is an awful lot like some of the worthless endorsements floating around.

Bonus: See 10 Social LinkedIn Things to Do Now for a quick list of activities you can be doing right away to build your reputation and grow your network.

There it is! Work through this check-up and you can earn the coveted “All-Star” rating for your LinkedIn profile.

Do you have other tips to share that aren’t included here? Please comment and share!

If you found this article helpful, please take a moment to share it. Also, be sure to follow this blog to get notifications of new stories. Thanks!

Bill Florin spends a lot of time coaching Resu-mazing Services Company clients on getting the most from LinkedIn.

The Nine-Fingered Chef

If you have done any reading, research or work on social media tools, you know that terms like “personal brand” and “online reputation” are used by everyone. If you don’t have a robust LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account that you use regularly and a blog with daily updates that display your genius, you are nobody. These tools are very important, and will likely grow beyond anything we can anticipate today, but they are still just tools. My brother-in-law is attending culinary school and he has a set of knives that can be used to create gourmet dinners or disasters.

Dan Schwabel writes a useful blog on at Forbes.com about personal branding. His post today discusses the demise of the resume and how it will be replaced by LinkedIn profiles. There is one point that he doesn’t make, and maybe it’s obvious, but still worth discussing. Do you have what it takes to use these tools without hurting yourself?

First, is the material that you want to put before the world something that the world wants to see? Is the content clear, concise and well written? If not, put down the meat clever, Mr. Flay.

Second, are you committed to keeping all of these online tools current? If you are going to create a blog that you never update and that is just one more chore in your life, it won’t have the energy and enthusiasm behind it that makes it readable. The same is true for LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social media tool you care to mention.

Finally, the skills and attention to detail that are needed to create a great resume are the same skills needed to create a great LinkedIn resume. It’s the same material presented in a different venue. If it’s bad as a hard copy resume, it sure won’t get better as a purely digital document.

If you aren’t up to the challenge, get some help. If you are going to commit to social media, jump in and get to work. If not, put down those really sharp knives, keep your digits where they belong, and come back when you are ready.